We all know that regular exercise and a healthy diet can improve our mental health and physical health , but did you know that they can also have a positive impact on our eyes?
Several studies over the last decade have proven that when you exercise, your eyes receive the benefits that the rest of your body does. Not only can regular physical activity help delay eye diseases such as glaucoma (by lowering intraocular pressure) , it can also help manage the effects of existing disease, such as diabetes, which can lead to diabetic retinopathy.
Vision problems and eye disease also stem from other health problems such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol. So a healthy diet and regular exercise are two of the most important steps you can take to lower your risk of both.
What type of exercise can help?
Anything at all as long as you are moving and active!
‘Eye-healthy’ exercise can be something as simple as a brisk 20-minute walk three or four times a week. If walking isn’t for you, consider doing something else that increases your heart rate, such as cycling, swimming, running, dancing, even jogging up and down a flight of stairs.
No matter what you choose to do, you will not only benefit your eyes and vision, but you’ll be strengthening your heart health too.
What foods are good for my eyes?
Including the following vitamins, minerals and antioxidants in your daily diet will help you look after your eye health and keep your clear and healthy vision:
- Vitamin C – found in many fruits and vegetables, including citrus fruits and leafy greens. Vitamin C has been shown in studies to delay the advancement of age-related macular degeneration and reduce the risk of cataracts.
- Vitamin E– found in almonds, sweet potatoes, and fortified cereals. This vitamin can help protect eye cells from free radicals that can harm healthy tissue.
- Zinc – a mineral found in red meat, shellfish, eggs, and tofu. It aids in the creation of melanin (a protective pigment found in the eyes) and may be beneficial to those who are at high risk of macular degeneration.
- Lutein, Meso-Zeaxanthin, and Zeaxanthin –these nutrients, called carotenoids, naturally gather in our eyes from the day we are born in a protective layer called the macular pigment. The function of the macular pigment is to protect the macula (which controls our central fine detail and colour vision) by filtering blue light and providing protection from oxidative stress and inflammation. Our bodies cannot produce carotenoids so our biggest challenge is to make sure we get sufficient quantities of them through our diet. They are found in leafy green vegetables, eggs, and corn…